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Light will receive a strategic meaning as the new intelligent language in the digital age, especially with the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT). A new technology using high-quality light-emitting diode (LED) lighting to obtain a broadband Internet connection through light waves has been introduced recently.
While radio frequencies are becoming congested, the visible light spectrum is an untapped resource with a large bandwidth suitable for the stable simultaneous connection of a vast array of Internet of Things devices.
Signify, a lighting company for IoT, has revealed its Light Fidelity (LiFi). The company said the technology is undergoing testing in 20 countries around the world to determine its performance and capability. The entry of LiFi can be a response to cybersecurity growing concerns in different sectors, such as business, defense and security.
Signify is the first global lighting company to offer LiFi-enabled luminaires from its existing office lighting portfolio.
Under a LiFi network, access is only given to users within a room of a building. “It is a reliable network that gives stability to the data for the users despite the number of users. It is an alternative solution that gives stable connection despite the presence of radio frequency-sensitive areas with poor or no wireless fidelity [Wi-Fi] connection,” explained Ed Huibers, head of business development of LiFi.
Although it is similar to Wi-Fi, LiFi technology is a two-way, high-speed wireless technology that uses light waves instead of radio waves to transmit data. Signify’s office luminaires enabled with LiFi technology from Signify provide broadband connection with a speed of 30 Megabits per second without compromising lighting quality. With 30 Mbps a user can stream simultaneously several HD quality videos while having video calls, according to businessmirror.com.
Where can LiFi be utilized? The technology offers its advantages in places where radio frequencies may interfere with equipment, such as in hospitals, or where Wi-Fi signals cannot reach or are weak, such as underground. Other user cases include environments demanding high security; for example, the back office of a financial institution or government service. Moreover, the technology offers an enhanced security as light cannot pass through solid walls and a line-of-sight to the light is needed to access the network.
Each luminaire is equipped with a built-in modem that adjusts the light at speeds imperceptible to the human eye. The light is detected by a LiFi USB key/dongle plugged into the socket of a laptop or tablet (in the future such technology will be built into laptops and devices). The LiFi USB dongle returns data to the luminaire through an infrared link.
As LiFi has 10,000 times the spectrum of Wi-Fi, this technology enables quality, energy-efficient LED light and a highly secure, stable and robust connection.